Jun 6, 2022 - News

Councilman Squilla: Make Philly's South Street safe or shut it down

Mark Squilla
Councilman Mark Squilla. Photo: Mike D'Onofrio/Axios

Philadelphia Councilman Mark Squilla called for "drastic action" to make South Street safe following the mass shooting that left three dead and 11 others injured last Saturday.

Driving the news: Squilla — who represents the city's 1st District, which includes the area where the shooting occurred — said the city must ensure safety in the popular commercial district or close it to pedestrians at certain times.

  • "If we cannot make it safe at a certain time then we need to shut the street down because you're not going to be able to protect the people, businesses or anybody on the street," Squilla told Axios at the news conference with police on Sunday.

Zoom in: The Democratic councilman said police appear to not be making disorderly conduct arrests, including people dancing on cars, blocking the roadway, and being "lawless."

  • "If we don't deal with the safety issues then we end up with the chaos that we have," he said.

Mike Harris — executive director of the South Street Headhouse District, where the shooting took place — told Axios he doesn't support blanket shutdowns or curfews for the area, but backs "strategic closures to promote a safer environment for everybody."

  • Harris said the gun violence epidemic is "disastrous" for the more than 400 businesses in the district, with some owners already closing early due to safety issues and others considering cutting back hours further.
  • "Business owners are frightened. Patrons aren't showing up to restaurants," he said, adding, "nobody is going to want to engage in outdoor dining if there's the chance of bullets will go flying."
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